As they’re wont to do, Black Friday promotional materials have started trickling out. And, as you might expect, there are a number of streaming hardware deals. One of the more interesting ones has nothing to do with price. Although, that too, is compelling.


For the holidays, Roku is releasing (yet another) model in the “Roku SE” — based on the hardware ID (2710SE), we can assume this is a rebadged Roku 1 (2710R). So it will feature significantly lesser processing power than the 2015 Roku 2 and Roku 3… but supports RCA connections for older, lower def televisions. At $25, it’s not a bad deal at all. Although, for the same money, if one has HDMI, we’d direct you to the Amazon Fire TV Stick sale.

(Thanks Patrick!)

When it came time to choose a new mattress this past summer, I decided to wire up our bedroom with Sleep Number and Sleep IQ. Casper gets a whole lot of tech press, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear given their now commonplace bedding materials and a limited one-mattress-fits-all product lineup. Whereas I truly hoped to embrace technology as a potential means of enhancing our sleeping experience. Sleep Number seemed to fit the bill. And, four months in, we’re extremely satisfied with our decision.

After hours of research, including extensive and appreciated online pre-sales chat along with an impressive Consumer Reports’ endorsement, I ended up purchasing the entry-level Sleep Number C2 model with a SleepIQ upgrade. Interestingly, the same core components and functionality are found within all Sleep Number mattresses (that we’ll get to in a minute). What differs are things like padding and cover thickness or composition. Indeed, the Sleep Number C2 is Consumer Reports second highest rated bed… right behind the Sleep Number i8, but at 1/3rd the cost. Having replaced a pair of name brand mattresses the last few years, due to depressingly rapid deterioration, we’re appropriately conservative with ongoing bedding investments.


Continue Reading…

(Reuters) – Inc is set to open its first physical book store in Seattle on Tuesday, the company said.

The brick-and-mortar store, Amazon Books, is a physical extension of with books being selected based on customer ratings and pre-orders on


Popularity on Goodreads and curators’ assessments are also considered for short listing the books. The in-store and online prices of the books would be same, Amazon said on Monday.

The store will also have an option to test drive Amazon’s devices such as Kindle, Echo, Fire TV and Fire Tablet.

Amazon Books, which is located in Seattle’s University Village, will be open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, the company said.

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Internet giant Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>, the new holding company for Google, expects to begin delivering packages to consumers via drones sometime in 2017, the executive in charge of its drone effort said on Monday. David Vos, the leader for Alphabet’s Project Wing, said his company is in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders about setting up an air traffic control system for drones that would use cellular and Internet technology to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicle flights at altitudes under 500 feet (152 meters).

Google's Project Wing drone makes a delivery in this undated demonstration video. REUTERS/Courtesy of Google

Google’s Project Wing drone makes a delivery in this undated demonstration video. REUTERS/Courtesy of Google

“Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” he told an audience at an air traffic control convention near Washington. Continue Reading…

As promised, some of the new elements found in the TiVo Bolt have begun trickling down to Roamio (and Premiere?) environments. TiVo Mini is up first with newly applied guide logos and “Quick Mode” to playback content at 1.3x speed.

While I’m happy to see older gear continuing to receive updates, neither of these features does much for me. Given the wide array of presentation, channel logos in the guide mostly clutter things up – it remains to be seen if I’ll more quickly identify what I’m looking for. Not that I use the guide very often… as a DVR owner… with highly competent search functionality (frequently accessed via TiVo’s smartphone app) . Even though I don’t have a use case, I do imagine my wife would enjoy the pitch-perfect Quick Mode to get through long award show presentations or episodes of Dancing with the Stars, assuming she remembers it exists and how to toggle it – it’s not exactly intuitive.

But, what would interest me, despite its limitations, is TiVo’s new SkipMode commercial avoidance feature. Also, the generally modernized interface would be a welcome addition. And at least one of these is bound to happen.

(Thanks Dan and Nick!)

Apple TV – Did you buy one?

Dave Zatz —  October 30, 2015 — 52 Comments

The [new] Apple TV reviews are out. And it seems to be something of a mixed bag. No, Apple TV hasn’t redefined television here and there isn’t much that sets it apart from a Roku or Fire TV. However, the hardware and presentation seem much more polished than the competition – despite some notable inconsistencies (Siri). The lack of 4k isn’t necessarily a huge deal at this point … unless you consider Apple TV is 50-100% more expensive than Amazon’s $100 streamer, with 4k. The biggest initial ding is on the content front, as it’ll take some time for developers to retrofit their experiences (or create new ones) for the 10′ interface of tvOS. I’m sure I’ll pick an Apple TV up at some point. But probably not this month. You?

Roku TV Deals at Jet

Dave Zatz —  October 27, 2015 — 9 Comments

New e-commerce site is attempting to attract customers with a generous 20% off coupon code – and I took the bait.

I assume there are many good deals to be had, but one in particular caught my eye. I’ve been looking to retire an awful 22″ Vizio television in favor of something a bit more modern. And, while I’d prefer 1080p, this 32″ TCL Roku TV ran me less than $160 – no taxes, no shipping fees. Which is pretty crazy when you stop to think that a Roku Stick alone runs about $50. (For something a bit beefier, one pal went with the 1080p 40″ Roku TV at $240.)


Jet doesn’t actually stock some (or any?) of its inventory, with orders fulfilled by other retailers. In my case, the television was shipped by Electronics Express and will arrive tomorrow.

Anyone else see some good finds on Jet we should take advantage of. And I mean that quite literally. ;)

The already well-priced Amazon Basics HDMI cables see a discount today. They’re rated for the 1.4 spec – supporting 4k and ARC. And should be fine with everything else as well. The cables come in various lengths, ranging from 3′ to 25′ and I was motivated to pick up four more in a 3′ pair and a 6.5′ pair.